Consultation on competencies for Enrolled and Registered Nurses

Thank you for taking the time to respond to the Enrolled Nurse and Registered Nurse competencies consultation that has now closed. We have had substantial feedback that will help inform the next phase of this review.

Next steps

We will review all feedback and make changes to refine the competencies, where appropriate.

We plan to consult on the revised competencies mid-year. This may include seeking additional expert advice and undertaking targeted consultation with stakeholders.

We will then make recommendations to the Council’s Board for their consideration and approval later in the year.

We have had considerable feedback on continuing competence and PDRP requirements

Nurses have expressed concern about the number of competencies and the compliance burden of continuing competence requirements, particularly Professional Development and Recognition Programmes (PDRPs).

Competencies describe the skills, knowledge, and attributes expected of nurses registered in each scope of practice. They are used for multiple purposes including to inform nursing education curriculums, competence assessments, and evidence of safety to practise as a nurse.

Nursing is a complex profession, and so too, the nursing competencies must reflect the breadth of knowledge, skills, and attributes required to provide safe care now and into the future.

Once the competencies are finalised, we will review requirements for continuing competence, including recertification audit and peer review processes. We will work with the nursing profession, educators, and employers to consider how new competencies could be implemented in practice, including the processes for maintaining continuing competence.

We thank you for your contribution and value your input as part of the work to strengthen and support nursing practice in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

We are seeking your views

The Nursing Council is seeking views on proposed changes to the competencies for Enrolled Nurses (EN) and Registered Nurses (RN), and amendments to the RN scope of practice. This is the beginning of our consultation with the sector.

The Council’s primary role is to protect the safety of the public by ensuring that nurses are competent, safe, and fit to practise under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. The Council sets standards for continuing competence that require an annual declaration and evidence of continuing competence from each nurse. It is the professional responsibility of all practising nurses to maintain their competence to practise.

Competencies represent the standard of knowledge and skills expected of ENs and RNs by the Council in each scope of practice. They set out for health consumers and the public what ENs and RNs know and can do when they join the Nursing Council’s register. These competencies have been designed to apply across all health and disability settings.

Why we are proposing changes to the competencies

Given the rapidly changing nature of healthcare and service delivery, the proposed competencies are broad and flexible to be future-focused while at the same time supporting safe and quality care. They reflect the complexity of knowledge, judgement, and critical thinking required of nurses to support their practice in today’s healthcare environment.

The EN competencies have been reviewed to align with the new EN scope of practice [available here] that was approved by the Council in May 2023, but will not come into effect until mid-2024. The RN competencies were last updated in 2016 so have been reviewed to ensure they remain relevant and reflect modern nursing practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. Due to the review of the EN scope of practice, we have made some amendments to the RN scope of practice.

How the competencies were reviewed

We established EN and RN design groups with members drawn from the Council, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation EN section, Te Poari o Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa, Te Kaunihera o Ngā Neehi Māori, Māori and Pacific nursing leaders, Directors of Nursing, educators, and employers, including a series of wānanga with Māori nurses to guide the review of the cultural safety and Kawa Whakaruruhau guidelines. These groups have been responsible for developing the proposed changes to the EN and RN scopes of practice and competencies.

Project leads and some members of each design group have been across both projects to ensure alignment. Concepts have been tested through a broader sector reference group and wider sector engagement. In addition to the current call for submissions, the Council will continue to seek wider sector engagement to hear a range of views and perspectives on the proposed changes.

More information to assist you

Here is the [link] to the consultation document for the review of the EN and RN competencies, and the amendments to the RN scope of practice. This document provides the background and rationale for the proposed changes.

You may also find the following resources of interest when thinking about the proposed changes:

How to provide feedback on these proposals

You can complete a survey by following this link.

You may also wish to provide a written submission, especially if you are submitting on behalf of an organisation. You may find this question template [available here] useful, this can be submitted to [email protected].

We may publish submissions on our website. Please clearly state in your submission if you wish that the content of your submission remains confidential.

Consultation will close at 5pm Monday 12 February 2024.

If you have any questions or require any further information, please contact us at [email protected].

We value feedback from all people and organisations with a stake in the future of nursing.